Giving Grove Brings Fruit Trees to Ridgeview

June 26, 2017 ~ On a sunny spring afternoon, a gift for the future was planted at Ridgeview Elementary. A small grove of apple and pear trees was planted, thanks to the hard work of one fifth-grade student who was committed to making a positive impact on this school. Each of those trees, once mature, can produce up to 200 pounds of fruit, something that can help the greater community.

"It has been my dream since kindergarten to plant fruit trees at the back of the school because I knew it would help me, my fellow students and the community," fifth-grader Korey Barnes said.

He worked with one of his teachers, Lauranne Hess, to study how to make this dream a reality. He wrote a grant to get funding from the United Methodist Women of United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, which has a location near Ridgeview. They granted him the funding to get Giving Grove, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping plant community fruit groves, to create a Giving Grove site at Ridgeview.

"When I met Korey this fall, one thing that stood out about him was his eagerness to do a project that would have a large impact on his community," Hess said. "In addition to the funding, there were many operational challenges to consider. Korey made an Excel spreadsheet with all of the tasks necessary for the project's success, including a timetable and persons responsible. He posted the spreadsheet in our classroom and was responsible for tracking deadlines and checking in with everyone on their parts. He made sure that we had everything we needed and the volunteers lined up to help out. All of his hard work paid off in a successful planting day and will continue to have a positive impact in the years to come as the trees and bushes bear fruit."

Ridgeview is also the site of a community garden, where neighbors and community members work with school students and staff to grow food for others. The Giving Grove is an exciting complement to the gardens.

"I am so impressed with how thorough Korey was with the project and how calmly he handled everything. I especially loved seeing how his fifth-grade peers were so helpful in digging the holes. I saw great teamwork," Principal Kim Thorup said. "I hope kids get a better understanding of the process of growing apples, pears and raspberries. I hope the fourth- and fifth-grade students continue to come back to Ridgeview to watch the progress of the things that they helped plant."

Korey is proud of the groves and the work he's done. He loves his school and wants to do what he can to make it better as he leaves and is headed to middle school

"I love Ridgeview Elementary because I have been at the school here for six years, and all of those six years I have experienced a great community and great friends," Korey said. "I hope the trees will encourage the younger students to learn about nature. I also hope the trees produce fruits for all the students to enjoy. I think this will be a great addition for Ridgeview!"

Korey Barnes, Ridgeview fifth-grader last school year, worked to get a Giving Grove of fruit trees planted at Ridgeview Elementary.

Korey Barnes

Representatives from Giving Grove give students a demonstration of how to plant the fruit trees.

Giving Groves presentation to students

Ridgeview students help dig holes for the apple and pear trees at Ridgeview Elementary’s Giving Grove.

Students dig holes to plant trees

Students pitched in to help as the Ridgeview Elementary Giving Grove was planted.

Photos by Maggie Kolb

Student pushes wheelbarrow